Marketing Your Business: Dare To Be Different

Dare to Be Different
Paul Lim (L) receives the Singapore’s Outstanding Enterprise 2014 award from Dr Lily Neo, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC (C), and Mr Leslie Cheng, CEO of SRA (R).
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By Li Yen and Cindy Liew

Paul Lim wears more than one hat. He is the founder of two award-winning companies – Craftech Printing Services Pte Ltd and AStar Success Pte Ltd – and the Honorary Treasurer and Chairman of Marketing Institute of Singapore’s HR & Finance committee.

With over two decades of experience and a Bachelor of Marketing and Finance awarded by Curtin University Of Technology under the Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS), speaking with Paul is a rewarding process. He is a businessman who gains insight from the littlest details and will never relinquish any opportunity to improve.

Paul Lim, founder of Craftech Printing Services and AStar Success Pte Ltd.
Paul Lim, founder of Craftech Printing Services and AStar Success Pte Ltd.

The Selling Point

As a marketer, Paul knows it is crucial to stand out – he has to be upfront and different – to draw attention from consumers.

A creative idea which Paul has employed was coming up with a video that featured a rapper. He made the rap to introduce the services of AStar Success, a company specialising in Graphic Design, Website Design & Development, Marketing Ideas and 3D Visualisation, which won the Asia Excellence Award 2014/2015.

“My competitors told me – Wow, you are ahead of us now!” he says with a chuckle.  “It is a unique way of selling and remembering us,” shares Paul, who is also serving in SAFRA Jurong’s Executive Committee.

“How you differentiate and stand out among your competitors is very important. The video captures consumers’ attention in less than a minute. And it tells them everything about what we do,” he emphasises.

“We will usually email this video to our customer before the sales discussion. Thus, the sales process is cut short as the customer will have already known about us through this video. Therefore, when we meet, we discuss business straight away. In this way, we have won 50% of the battle,” he says with a glint in his eye.

Besides enhancing their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in the video that draws customers to engage their services, Paul recommends using it solely as a teaser to arouse customers’ curiosity for queries.

“I don’t include 100% of the information in the video.  If you add everything, people will have nothing to ask you,” he explains. “You can only provide 80% or 90% of the information, and the remaining 10% is for consumers to ask you so as to start a conversation. That is one of the ways to connect with customers.”

Sun Tzu once said, “Know yourself and your enemy and you will win in battles”.

-Paul Lim, Founder of Craftech and AStar Success Pte Ltd

“Sun Tzu once said, ‘Know yourself and your enemy and you will win in battles.’ If you are able to differentiate yourself, people are also willing pay a slightly higher price. What is the difference between your company and your competitors?” he adds.

In marketing, companies also need to try out various online and offline channels.

“We need people to feel our presence,” says Paul.

Staff as Shareholders

Presently, Craftech employs less than eight staff, and Paul believes that every staff is a shareholder of his company.

“We share ideas. We normally do a sharing session in the morning,” he says with a smile. “‘Making Ideas Happen’, the slogan of AStar, simply mirrors this great inspiration.

“Eventually, when the company grows, profits will be shared. Because all the efforts are not from me, I cannot run the show myself. It is all about teamwork. In this way, I can say that they [push forward with a lot of initiative].”

Despite facing obstacles as a businessman, Paul Lim has chosen to maintain a positive attitude to motivate and inspire the people around him. “Because I feel that I like challenges, I always move on,” he states firmly.

You need to mix with a lot of positive people. If you work with negative people, they’ll affect you.

-Paul Lim, Founder of Craftech and AStar Success Pte Ltd

“You need to mix with a lot of positive people. If you work with negative people, they’ll affect you. For me, I have various mentors who will help me. You need to have [many] contacts,” says Paul, who is also a volunteer member of Willing Hearts – a non-profit organisation which supports the underprivileged and needy.

In this exclusive interview, Paul Lim shares with Epoch Times his philosophy of running a business in the highly competitive printing industry.

Tell us about your company – Craftech.

Craftech, established in 1993, provides printing services in Singapore from Memostix, Graphic Design, Plastic Cards, Commercial Printing, Label Printing, Copywriting to Editorial.

Initially, when we started, we did everything, and we lost track. We didn’t know where to go. After that, we sat down and brainstormed on the right direction. Are we going to sell everything? Then, we decided to focus on what we are strong in, which is the marketing aspect.

After many years of trial and error, we decided to move to printing marketing collaterals like MemoStix, Plastic Cards, Brochures, Catalogues and Corporate Gifts. These products are very unique because they help to enhance our clients’ products and services, their image, their branding, and create awareness so that people will remember them.

Our direction is to help companies promote ideas and enhance their image to generate a better ROI (Return of Investment).

When the customer engages us, we will do everything from scratch, from the concept, the design to the printing.

Why is good copywriting essential in marketing collaterals and advertisements?

In marketing collaterals, you will need to convey the message in powerful and attractive words.

Words are very powerful – that is how you draw people to pay attention to your advertisement.

I agree that everybody can write. But people who use powerful words are winners, as powerful words attract consumers to engage your products or services.

There must be also a ‘call to action’ in your ad or marketing collaterals. There must be a telephone number which consumers can call for order.

These are the latest trends in the market now. The design must be effective and your copywriting must be excellence.

Craftech provides 3-in-1 services – we Design, Copywrite, and Print.

As the printing industry is very competitive, we must add value to our customers. Furthermore, if we provide 3-in-1 services, the cost is reasonable compared to engaging individual services in designing, copywriting and printing. We help our clients to save costs [by consolidating] the process itself.

Can you share with us 10 creative writing tips that generate sales?

Tip #1 : Use “You” or “Your”

Be straightforward and address the target audience.

Tip #2 : Put the Reader Benefit in the Headline

Example: ‘How to Start Business with No Money’; ‘The First Class Treatment at Affordable Price’

Tip #3 : Use the Magic Word “FREE”

“FREE” is simple yet powerful, but do not use the word too often – or else it will have no more impact.

Tip #4 : Do Not Print in Reverse as it makes it harder for the reader to retain information.

Tip #5 : Include a Guarantee

Example: “Money Back Guarantee”

Tip #6 : Do Not WRITE the Text in Upper Case

Tip #7 : Use Times New Roman Font

Newspapers use this font to develop readers’ reading habits.

Tip #8 : Use Bonus in Sales

Reward people who take action on the spot and help to increase sales.

Tip #9 : Testimonials

Build your credibility by having your customers speak for you.

Tip #10 : Call to Action

Example – “Call +65 8139 2148 Now”

What are some tips for using social media in business?

In term of business, when it comes to social media, consumers do not want you to be always selling things.

For instance, you can share eight educational posts on Facebook, and the 9th post is to sell your products. These social media platforms are not for selling, but you must consider that if there is too much selling, people will leave.

The approach in social media is to share useful and educational posts – to give more than you gain.

Last year, when Craftech celebrated our 21st anniversary, we invited our customers to share and like our post on Facebook in order to win Golden Village Gold Class vouchers.

Money was well spent for the prizes, but the participants shared a lot about us. Thus, we found that it was a small investment which brought a big return.

Sometimes, in sales, you don’t need to approach people directly. You can approach them indirectly.

What do you think are the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur?

Firstly, you must have courage.

Secondly, you must be those who do a lot of planning. Planning is very essential. You must plan in order to decide the direction your business is heading to achieve the goal.

Thirdly, you must be able to communicate well, as most of the time, we are mixing around with different kinds of people. If you communicate well, people will have a good impression of you.

Fourthly, you must be familiar with your industry and know how you will add value to your customers.

Fifth is your energy level. You must always be committed in whatever you are doing. When you’re committed, your customers can see. Discipline is also important.

Where do you see your business in 10 or 20 years?

In any business, you must know your exit point. The exit point is when you are doing so well that the investors are interested to buy your business.  There must be a point when you could show the investors that your business is profitable, then you could sell your business and exit.

That’s very critical because if you read a lot about entrepreneurs, they always establish a business and then exit to start a new business again.

That’s the way their money grows.

This Is Singapore is a fortnightly feature that delves into the lives of inspiring and talented individuals in Singapore. Read all our interviews here:

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